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Marilene Phipps
An American poet, painter, and short story writer

Marilene Phipps

Marilene Phipps
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Quick Facts

Intro An American poet, painter, and short story writer
A.K.A. Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell, Marilène Phipp
Is Poet
From United States of America Haiti
Field Literature
Gender female
Birth 23 December 1950, Haiti
Age 71 years
The details (from wikipedia)


Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell (born 1950 in Haiti) is an American poet, painter, and short story writer.


Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell was born in Haiti and raised in Haiti, until the age of 10. She also lived in France. She studied anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated from Pennsylvania University with an M.F.A.. She has won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Bunting Institute, W. E. B. Du Bois Institute and the Center for the Study of World Religions all at Harvard University, as well as from the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Her work has appeared in Callaloo, Tanbou, and Ploughshares.

She has donated paintings to the National Center of Afro-American Artists.


  • 2000 Crab Orchard Review Poetry Prize
  • 1999-2000 Senior Fellowship, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School
  • 1993 Grolier Prize for Poetry
  • 1995 Guggenheim Fellowship in painting
  • Bunting Institute
  • Harvard University W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research


  • The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti. University Of Iowa Press. 2010. ISBN 978-1-58729-921-6. 
  • Crossroads and Unholy Water. Southern Illinois University Press. 2000. ISBN 978-0-8093-2306-7. 


  • Walter Mosley, Katrina Kenison, eds. (2003). "Mary-Ange's Ginen". Best American Short Stories 2003. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-618-19733-0. 
  • Kei Miller, ed. (2007). New Caribbean Poetry: an anthology. Carcanet. ISBN 978-1-85754-941-6. 
  • Ntozake Shange, ed. (1999). "pink". The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Women and Men of All Colors. Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-6221-0. 
  • M. J. Fenwick, ed. (1996). Sisters of Caliban: contemporary women poets of the Caribbean: a multilingual anthology. Azul Editions. ISBN 978-1-885214-09-6. 


"Just a handful of poems actually address the earthquake itself—perfectly understandable, given its recentness at the time of the Harvard reading. Among them, 'Intersection' by Danielle Legros-George, Tom Daley’s 'After a Stroke, My Mother Addresses Children in a Photograph of a Sidewalk in Port-au-Prince,' and 'Earthquake' by Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell deserve a special mention, as the most innovative in their imagery and emotional thrust. In "Earthquake," we read of the collapse of bodies and buildings, and see vividly the destruction wrought in Port-au-Prince."

"Life in Haiti, before the recent earthquake but no less steeped in hardship and spiritual overcoming, is captured in interconnected stories by a gifted Haitian American... In sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes sharply ironic fashion, Phipps-Kettlewell writes of coping in a place where the lush surroundings are a constant reminder of how removed from paradise people are.... But as sad as the stories can get, the author’s empathy for her resilient subjects, and her grasp of the human comedy in depicting the creative ways downtrodden people keep hope alive, makes the book unexpectedly entertaining. Brilliantly evocative contemporary stories about Haiti..."

"In contrast, one can, and does, find pleasure in Marilene Phipps's first full-length collection of poems, Crossroads and Unholy Water. Not the light, transient pleasure of a novel only suitable for the beach, but pleasure of the soul-satisfying kind. The book invites deeper reading, rather than demanding it... Phipps book has the tried and true stuff of fine poetry—remarkable images, striking metaphors, big themes—without being stuffy. It covers the full range of the human drama—its glory, its misery, its humor and its pathos."

"...Marilene Phipps focuses on voodoo themes but she paints incongruously in heavy dabs of oily impasto. An example is the somewhat-photographic composition of a man in white clothes paying his respects to the corpse under a sheet before a shelf loaded with statuettes and vases of flowers. The drawing is sound and the colors juicy but the general effect is perilously close to calendar art."

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